Jul 28, 2010

World of Tech: Keeping up with inspiration

Now if you’re anything like me, then you've read a TON of wedding blogs for inspiration. Recently I saw a reader survey over at one of my favorite blogs. Readers were asked how they kept up with new content on the site. I was really surprised that over 60% said they visited the site repeatedly while only 14% said they used an rss reader. I could not imagine trying to keep up with the content on my favorite blogs by going and visiting each site over and over again.

With that in mind I think it’s time to take our first steps into the world of tech. Let me introduce you to RSS feeds and Google reader. An RSS feed is just a file/web page that contains information in a standard format that can be understood by many different programs including RSS readers. So when we talk about RSS feeds for wedding blogs, the RSS feeds contain the text and images for each of the blog posts.

Now how does an RSS reader, like Google reader, help a bride keep up with all these blog posts? Google reader allows you to tell it which blogs you want to get RSS feeds (aka posts) from. Then it not only pulls all of the different blogs posts into one place but keeps track of which ones you have read/haven’t read and gets new content when it’s available. Pretty snazzy huh? The best part of using an RSS reader is that if you are gone for a few days you don’t have to worry about missing any of the posts. Google reader keeps track of what is new and where you left off reading each blog.

Setting up Google reader is easy but instead of me trying to explain to you how to do it I thought I would leave it to the pros. Here is a two minute video tutorial from Google that will not only get you started but will show you how to add your favorite blogs:

Now that wasn’t so hard, right? Coming up I will be posting about organizing and storing all that inspiration so you never have to worry about losing it.

What tech lovin’ tools are you using to make your wedding planning easier?

Jul 26, 2010

Will your wedding be legal?

A little while after we decided to have our wedding in Mexico I got asked if our wedding would be legal back in the United States. I was speechless.

I had no idea and truthfully it never crossed my mind that it might not be. So I went into superwoman (aka panicky bride) research mode. Here is what I discovered:

Basically a wedding in Mexico would be legally recognized here in the states but there were some nuances. We would need to have a blood test in Mexico, our birth certificates would need to be translated into Spanish and we would have to be in the country three days before the ceremony. When we returned home we would be unable to register our marriage license back here in Michigan. So while it would be legal no one would ever be able to look up our marriage status or get a copy of the license. Also the only type of ceremony that is recognized as legal in Mexico is a civil ceremony (which has no room for customization) officiated by an officer of the Registro Civil.

I wanted to throw a "I'm the bride and I want it my way right now" tantrum!

But then again who says you have to have the legal stuff done where your wedding is taking place? I started researching what it would take to make it legal in Michigan before we left. I found out that you can have a judge do the legal part without even having a ceremony ($10 + license). Each state is different and has some required wording but in short you just have to tell the judge you both agree to be married, come of your own free will and sign the marriage license.

Since we wanted to have a custom ceremony in Mexico and didn’t want to deal with any of the other stuff, we decided to do the legal paperwork back in the states. We don’t actually plan on publicizing the fact that we did the legal paperwork back home. (Hmmm might work better if I didn’t write about it on a public blog. Oh well.)  As far as we are concerned, we won’t see ourselves as married until the day of the ceremony in Mexico.

Anyone else getting married before they get married?

Jul 23, 2010

A ‘travel/exploration meets Hollywood glamour’ theme

After we picked the Riviera Maya for our wedding it was time to pick a theme. From the start of planning we knew we wanted a cohesive look. At first we thought about using just a bold monochromatic color palette but something was missing; it just didn’t reflect our fun, whimsical personalities. So we began doing research on themes.

We saw elegant summer picnic weddings. Somehow a picnic in the Riviera Maya just doesn’t seem to fit together but oh picnic weddings how I love you. If we were getting married in Michigan you would have been my first choice.

Photo: Sedona Bride

There were beautiful vintage weddings.  While it’s pretty, it was a little too “girly” for us. I am a tomboy at heart so something that feminine would never feel like me.  

There were even some seashell and beach themed weddings that would make any bride giddy. While it is just beautiful and it fit well with the Riviera Maya, we wanted something more us.

We struggled for a few months, never really landing on any one theme. Then one day while looking at an antique map it hit me; why not use exploration and travel as our theme!? I mean, isn't that why we chose a destination wedding- because we love to travel and explore? The compass rose has been a symbol of travel since early nautical times. We could use the compass rose as our monogram and carry it through the entire wedding:

Our Monogram

From there the idea only grew to a modern version of vintage Hollywood glamour mixed with a jungle environment with bright, bold colors:

National Geographic NDTV

Just imagine Audrey Hepburn in a sleek, jaw dropping dress standing in the middle of a beautiful, rustic jungle/rainforest type environment with beautiful pops of hot pink and tangerine color all around. You just imagined our wedding! Awesome, right?  We call it our rustic-chic travel themed wedding.

While it took us a long time and a bit of unique inspiration to come up with our theme, once we started there seemed to be inspiration everywhere. How did you find your inspiration for your theme and was it easy once you had the very first part of the idea?

Jul 21, 2010

Location, Location, Location

It took Mr. Meerkat and I less than 12 hours after we got engaged to decide that we wanted to have a destination wedding. We are travel addicts who love to explore the history and culture of an area.

At first the choices were overwhelming because there were so many possibilities. We looked at Italy but the costs were just too high. We looked at St John but it just didn’t have that rich culture that we were looking for and in Mr. Meerkat’s words ‘all there is to do there is sit on a beach’. We looked at Alaska. Ok I’m not going to lie; we were totally in love with the idea of getting married on a glacier. Then we realized that some of our relatives might not want to hop on a helicopter and ride out onto a floating chunk of ice in the middle of the ocean.


The more research we did the more the locations started to blur together. So we had to stop and ask ourselves what things were really important:

  • Comfortable accommodations
  • Rich history and culture
  • Many non-water activities
  • Affordable
  • Beautiful scenery

Having this small list really helped focus in on what we were looking for.  With our list in hand we started looking at the Riviera Maya, MX. I was a bit skeptical. We had visited briefly two years before and loved it but didn’t really think of it as a place you would get married.  After looking through photographers blogs from the area we were floored by how amazing the Riviera Maya was for a wedding.

We started going over our checklist:
  • Large selection of all-inclusive resorts - check
  • Rich history and culture - check
  • Non-water activities - check
  • Affordable - check and double check 
  • Beautiful scenery - holy wow, check and check!!

Yep the Riviera Maya was screaming PICK ME!! So we did. I think it was the easiest decision we have made for the wedding.  Was picking your location this easy or did we just get really lucky?

Jul 16, 2010

Engagement - The Rendezvous

Our engagement began with a rendezvous. Not between Mr. Meerkat and I but between Mr. Meerkat and MOH Meerkat . Now wait before you start thinking this is a days our lives episode, let me explain.

It started one day in June while I was at lunch with the guys I work with. I had been telling them that Mr. Meerkat was planning a surprise weekend away and how excited I was. During lunch Mr. Meerkat called. As we were talking I realized he was driving while he should have been at work. So I asked him the obvious question, where was he going. He was honest and told me that he had taken the day off and was meeting MOH Meerkat in the town where I work (one hour from where we live) for lunch and shopping (he didn’t bother to tell me that their shopping was actually going to happen two more hours north). As you can guess I was kind of hurt. My boyfriend and best friend were getting together and didn’t invite me.

When I got off the phone my co-workers could see I was kind of bummed and asked what was wrong. I explained what had just happened on the phone. The next thing I see is the guys looking around the table at each other with these goofy grins on their faces. Then a couple little laughs started that turned into bigger laughs. It was then that one of them held up his wedding band, wiggling it back and forth, and said with this goofy grin on his face ‘I don’t know what they could be shopping for’.

Now let me just state right here that I was commitment phobic! Just the thought of getting married would send me running. Yes, like the runaway-bride-movie kind of running. So I was sure the guys had to be joking with me because they LOVE to tease. It didn’t make any sense for Mr. Meerkat to travel that far from home when we have plenty of local jewelry stores. Or did it? =)

I still didn’t believe that Mr. Meerkat was going to propose.  Nonetheless, I was VERY excited just to be going away for a surprise trip with Mr. Meerkat.  FINALLY, July 25 rolled around and after five long weeks of waiting, our trip began. When we were less than 30 miles away Mr. Meerkat handed me a folder. I open it to find the sweetest note from him telling me we were going to Mackinac Island!!! He also included a ton of information to read about our hotel, things to do and about the island in general. We arrive with me frantically reading ever last detail in the folder while Mr.  Meerkat unloaded the car. (What a way to start an engagement, huh?) After we were settled, he took me out for a beautiful dinner on the shoreline and an evening of walking around the town.

The next morning there we rented two bikes (motorized vehicles are prohibited) and took off to explore the little island. Around noon we stopped at a beach where Mr. Meerkat laid out a surprise picnic lunch. We talked, ate and enjoyed the beautiful view. Just before we started packing up he told me he had another surprise for me and handed me a tiny little wrapped box. I opened it to find the engagement ring he and MOH Meerkat drove three hours to have custom made. And there on that beautiful beach Mr. Meerkat proposed. I wish I could remember all the sweet things Mr. Meerkat said but somewhere in there I squealed and screamed “YES”!

What happened to my commitment phobia you ask? Its gone. From the moment I opened the box and saw the ring I was no longer scared but blissfully happy. Everything just seemed... right.

After our morning adventure we decided to do some shopping. In one of the shops we saw hooded sweatshirts with this printed on them:

Life begins at M-185

M-185 is the road we traveled around the island on and where Mr. Meerkat proposed. As you can probably guess Mr. Meerkat purchased us each one as I happily told every single person standing there about our engagement and the sweatshirts. It was definitely one of the happiest days of my life.

Do any of you have something special you got on the day of your engagement? (Well I mean besides the pretty rock on your hand. *grin*)

Jul 14, 2010

Meet Mr. and Miss Meerkat

Each person that blogs for WeddingBee writes under the name of an icon/moniker (e.g. Mr. & Miss Ribbon). In true WeddingBee fashion I decided that we too should go incognito and have a moniker. So without further ado meet Mr. & Miss Meerkat.

Photo by Sisiter-In-Law Meerkat

Mr. Meerkat and I are a couple fun loving geeks from Michigan who love to laugh. We enjoy anything having to do with movies, books, video games or technology and we hold a special place in our hearts for anything furry and four legged (like our two shih-tzus Wicket and Bravo). We also love to travel. We love it so much that it only took us about 12 hours after we got engaged to decide to have a destination wedding.

Why am I a Tech-Savvy Bride?
My whole life, including my career (I’m a software engineer), revolves around technology so it wasn’t that big of a stretch for me to plan my whole wedding the same way. While most brides carry a three ring binder of pictures from bridal magazines and a notebook, I carry my Motorola Droid phone. Yep that’s it. As you read my blog you will see all of my planning is almost 100% digital and almost 100% online (Mama-In-Law Meerkat has tech issues so we give her paper copies). Even my DIY projects are full of technology from custom Cricut software to photo and video editing programs.

Over the next few weeks I plan to take you through the ups and downs of my planning process and hopefully pass along the MANY things I've learned while trying to plan a wedding that is modern, cost effective and totally us.

Jul 12, 2010

Tales of a tech-savvy bride

Welcome to the first post on my journey to becoming a bee.

For all of you who are totally confused, let me explain. Being a bee means being a blogger for the famous weddingbee.com website. The site was started by a bride, Bee Kim, to document her own wedding planning processes. It became such a hit that each month they ask 2-3 amazing brides (5% of applicants) to become bees and blog about their wedding planning process.

So I decided to give my mother, who is an amazing writer, a run for her money and see if she passed any of those writing genes down to me. Over the next few weeks I am going to consolidate my blogging efforts into this site instead of spread across a couple different personal ones. By the end of this little adventure hopefully I will have an amazing set of posts to be proud of.

Stay tuned for some crazy adventures and tons of tech....